Cover Image: Can I Give My Stepkids Back?

Can I Give My Stepkids Back?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

It’s been a while since I read anything in translation, partly because I’ve not been getting through as many books as usual over the past 12 months. The opening to the blurb for this one caught my eye, however, and my interest increased when I realised that not only was it set in Paris, but it was by a French author. So while some of the tropes and topics are familiar, the setting – especially seen through the eyes of a local – is anything but. As it turned out, the author also put quite a different spin on the background to the story as well as on the main characters’ motivations.

Morgan manages a nursery (of the childcare, rather than the plant-care variety) in Paris, but dreams of owning a boarding kennels in the country. She lives alone, except for a beagle called Snoopy, and gives every impression of being happy with her life, even though the nursery staff suspect that she doesn’t like children all that much. Meanwhile, Morgan’s younger sister – their parents’ apparent favourite – is happily married with two young children, and seems to have a very different set of priorities to Morgan. Everyone’s lives are turned upside down by a fatal car crash, following which Morgan is named guardian of her now-orphaned niece and nephew in preference to either set of grandparents.

Although she knows little about caring for school-age children, and her flat is by no means equipped for new residents of that variety, Morgan tries her best to make the transition into a new family comfortable for everyone. Her mother is disapproving, and her father takes his wife’s side, but Morgan is determined that she can offer more stability than they can, and sets out to prove it. The kids are initially unsure about Morgan, but slowly warm to her unorthodox attitudes and start to take an interest in her life and those of the people they encounter together.

Told from the alternating points of view of Morgan and the older of the children, this book had a cast of delightful side characters, particularly the gruff-seeming vet who treats Snoopy’s paw, and the undertaker who always plays (loudly!) music that Morgan considers inappropriate for a hearse. There are references to past child abuse, which colours some characters’ interactions with each other, and also several contrasting stories of adoption from the points of view of birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adopted children. Overall, though, this is very much a feel-good story with some moments of out-and-out hilarity. I want to find translations of the author’s other books now.
Was this review helpful?
An enjoyable read although it took me some time to finish. It was not a book that kept me fully engrossed in the storyline.
Was this review helpful?
This was nothing like the book I had expected. From the cover and title, I was expecting a laugh out loud comedy about a woman who marries a man with children and the antics that ensue. Instead, I got a very sad story about two children who lose their parents in a car accident and go and live with their aunt. It was a little funny but I mostly just found it sad.
Was this review helpful?
It took a long time for me to finish this one, and honestly, I feel a little duped. It sounded like it was going to be a rom com, but in reality, this was a little heavy, with light sprinkles of humor.
The beginning was really slow to get into, although the back half did pick up quite a bit. 
Overall, it wasn’t bad, but I definitely wasn’t expecting what I got.
Was this review helpful?
A new author for me. Took me a while to get into it and It didn't really capture me I'm sorry to say. Would like to try another  book by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Can I Give My Stepkids Back? is one of the funniest books to be released this year. It has numerous moments where you will find yourself laughing out loud. It's a fun, cute and quirky romance that will make you smile and one you will pass on to your friends,
Was this review helpful?
Sometimes all you need is a journey along the flat. No twisty bends, tight corners or the arduous ups and downs of a hilly hike. It is especially pleasant strolling along a promenade with the sparking sea on one side of you. Sometimes easy, straightforward, unremarkable is just what the soul needs. However, sometimes travelling in a straight line for miles on end, as is motorway driving, whilst not very taxing, is mostly tedious. So overall, I prefer a few bumps, a cross country detour or the muddy inclines and gravelly descents of a rural walk.
Can I Give My Stepkids Back? is motorway all the way with possibly a few stops at uninspiring service stations. Whether something is lost in translation or not, this Paris/Marseille based romantic novel is bereft of romance, oddly titled and even the front cover gives the reader the wrong impression.
Morgan is left looking after her nephew and niece following the children's parents sudden deaths in a car accident. This should be an emotional read. It isn't. Morgan has a past. This should add depth to the novel. It doesn't. Family, friendship, dogs, therapists, schools and letters written by a son to his dead parents, should be the perfect ingredients for a read of this genre. Maybe the ingredients were past their sell by dates, gone stale or added in the wrong quantities, but sadly for me this was not a dish I would choose again.
I appreciate the opportunity Netgalley, the author and publisher have given me, and I genuinely wish the book success. Just this time around, it didn't work for me.
Was this review helpful?
This book was ok, I loved the character of the aunty and her relationship with her mother. The children were good characters and it makes you realise promising to look after a friend or relatives children if anything happens to them can be a lot more difficult than you realise if you suddenly find that is what is needed.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting read and I think the translation of the title doesn't really do it justice. The characters were well written and the issues of grief and loss well explored. It had many sweet and tender moments and I enjoyed reading their story as they grew and adjusted to their new lives. Would recommend
Was this review helpful?
Thank you netgalley, the publisher and author.
Well written story about how life changes at the most unexpected time.
Heartwarming, tears to your eyes.
Recommend
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this one. I felt like there was something missing though, something I needed to love it. Well thought out plot and easy to read.
Was this review helpful?
From the title I assumed this was going to be a family based comedy but what I got was so much more than that. Morgan is living a single life, throwing herself into long hours at work when her sister and brother in Le are killed and she is named guardian to their two young children. I enjoyed reading of the slow and stray relationships developing between them whilst Morgan’s own parents doubt her ability to parent and fight for custody, whilst she deals with issues from her own past. A good read.
Was this review helpful?
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to review this book.

The start of the story lands us right in the thick of the action. Elliot and Lea are waiting outside camp for their parents to pick them up, unfortunately they are met by Morgan, their aunty, who has the unfortunate job of telling them that their parents are dead. The story then evolves as we follow Morgan and the children as they adjust to a new reality.

There were many times that I felt for Morgan, she was thrown into this unknown world of looking after two children and held her hands up to say she didn’t have a clue what she was doing. On top of that she was trying to deal with her own grief from losing her sister and she had her mum constantly putting her down. Is it any wonder she’s depressed? As the story progresses we learn more about Morgan and her strained relationship with her mum. There were many times when I wanted to bash both their heads together and I’m pleased that Morgan’s dad stepped in to heal the rift.

My favourite part of the book was the chapters from Elliot. As a reader we get to see how a child copes with grief and their new surroundings which I thought was a refreshing take. Aurelie Tramier did a brilliant job of portraying a child’s POV, it felt genuine and gave the story that extra edge.

Vivienne and Valerie were two of my favourite secondary characters in the story. My heart broke for Valerie when she finally revealed why she was so late picking her child up and part of me was furious with Morgan. She should of sat down with Valerie and asked her what was going on instead of assuming she knew the problem. I actually didn’t like the other nursery workers, they seemed very catty and rubbed me up the wrong way. Vivienne was a great friend to Morgan and I loved all her ideas and the way she supported and defended Morgan to the other workers.

The only negative for me was the romance, I didn’t feel that it was needed and in my opinion it felt like a rushed add on. I didn’t like Lancelot and I didn’t feel the chemistry between him and Morgan. I was enjoying reading about the relationships between Morgan and her family.

This was a quick and easy read that explored the depth of grief and how it affected a family. We see the power of forgiveness and how life altering moments can push a family together.
Was this review helpful?
So easy to read, read curled up on the sofa all in one afternoon. Will admit I struggled to get into it, but then I was hooked right up until the last page
Was this review helpful?
Another favorite by a great author. The plot of the story was very well written. The author really draws the reader in as you read. I laughed so much.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a lovely read, sad to start but with such perfectly flawed characters who go through so much , together and individually to get their lives on track it’s a joy! Heartwarming and beautiful.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a translation from french, so the book's title is kind of misleading because aren't her step kids but their niece and nephew. 


That being said, I loved this story is so nice and heart-warming that I cried a bit once the story advanced. I will try to talk about the book without giving anything that could ruin the story for you, but Morgan is a woman in charge of her "step-kids" but she cannot connect with them and as the story starts moving they also start to connect and it warmed my heart because a family is built, as we see in the book.

The way that Morgan's adopted kids because they are adopted once she became her guardian, is so endearing that I cried, if this book ever became a film I will watch it without a doubt.

I know that some people feel like this trope is kind of overused in order to force a woman to fulfill her society role as a mother, I feel that we don't talk about how adoptive families still count as a family and we should see more of them because there is more that one way of being a family as the book perfectly shows.
Was this review helpful?
CW; sexual assault, suicide attempt, car crash, parental death, child abandonment. 

What a wholesome but heartbreaking read! 

I loved the plot and I adored the characters and how they all grew together as the storyline progressed. 
I loved watching the kids grow to love their aunt and how Morgan adapted her life to eventually care for the kids as though they were her own. 

Learning Morgan’s harrowing tale that she has kept secret for 18 years and discovering just how much of a strain it has put on her life and her relationship with her mum was eye opening and the confrontation around it May be difficult for some to read. 

This would have been a four star apart from one thing.  It feels petty but it really annoyed me.
On various occasions throughout the book, they talk of feeding the dog chocolate...anyone with a dog knows this is TOXIC. 
Something very small but it definitely knocked it down a bit for me as a massive dog lover, especially when the character loves the dog so much and wants to open a dog kennels.
Was this review helpful?
I was very disappointed in this book. The blurb made it sound like it would be comical and light weight. Once I got into it, it was anything but comical and light weight. The kids are not stepkids. I do not know if something was lost in translation since it was originally French, but I did not like this book.
Was this review helpful?
From the blurb and the title I had expected a rom com where the main character couldn't gel with her new partner's kids. It may have been a mistranslation- the original is French - but the actual product is much deeper. The main character takes in her sister's children following a fatal car accident. 

I think this mistranslation did affect how I enjoyed it, as it was a totally different book to what I expected.
Was this review helpful?